It will be between the most prolific Ronaldo, most expensive Messi and the highest transfer price tag Neymar. The race for the FIFA Player of the Year has rightly become a three-way shootout between the top three.
FIFA announced the three contenders for ‘The Best Men’s Player of the Year’ award to be held the next month on October 23 in London.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. are in the last-three shortlist from the initial 24 nominees announced last month.
Scales at tilted heavily in the favour of the Real Madrid star for the top honour. Ronaldo won the inauguralFIFA Award last year and also won the Ballon d’Or for the fourth time in his career.
The player has had a great year that saw him help Madrid to a third Champions League crown in four seasons and a first La Liga title in five years, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup. He netted a total of 42 goals and was the top scorer for UEFA Champions League last season with 12 goals in 13 appearances he made.
However, the battle will be tough for the star when Messi’s statistics from the last year are taken into account. The 30-year old Barcelona striker scored a total of 54 goals in the 52 games he played last year. Although the club missing out on the Champions League and La Liga title, the player was remarkable in his own performance.
For the last year’s UEFA Champions League, Messi was just one goal short from being the top scorer. His score of 11 goals came from the nine appearances he made for the European clubs elite competition. Yet, he was the top scorer for the Spanish league with his 37 goals compared to 25 scored by Ronaldo. He also holds more Ballon d’Or to his name than his rival Ronaldo.
In terms of the weekly wages, Messi is reported to have signed a new contract worth $675K a week running until 2021, making him the most expensive player. Ronaldo’s contract with Real Madrid was renewed last year running until 2021, earning him $492K a week.
To join the contention with two great footballers is 25-year old Neymar, who finished third in the 2015 Ballon d’Or voting. The Brazil forward became the world’s most expensive player this summer when he left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a $265 million deal.
Not having much to boast about with his statistics from the last year, Neymar made all the headlines with his most expensive transfer deal and with all the right reasons. The Paris Saint-Germain forward was swapped in from last year’s third-place Antoine Griezmann to make it to the contention for the title.
The former club’s disappointing season and with no new records for the footballer, this will be an opportunity for the Brazilian to climb out of the shadow of Messi, who has arguably dominated world football for so many years.
It’s only the second time FIFA will award the title to a player, with FIFA previously working alongside France Football to award the Ballon d’Or as the main award.
The award, which covers the period of Nov. 20, 2016, to July 2, 2017, is voted for by national team coaches, captains, selected media and fans.